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Steve Parry, ex-Reuters sports editor, dies at 64

Aug. 07, 2008, 8:38 a.m. (ET)

LONDON (AP) Steve Parry, the sports editor of Reuters news agency for nearly two decades, died on Thursday. He was 64.

Parry, sports editor of the London-based agency from 1982 to 2000 and a member of the International Olympic Committee press commission during that time, had suffered from a respiratory illness. He died in a hospital near his home north of London on the eve of the Beijing Olympics, having attended the previous 10 Summer Games.

Parry joined Reuters in 1966 and covered his first Olympics in Mexico City in 1968, taking on the athletics beat at the 1972 Munich Games. Appointed sports news editor in 1977, Parry was promoted to the job of sports editor at Reuters in 1982.

He expanded the role of sport at Reuters, appointing the first sports correspondents based abroad, one in Paris and one in Bonn.

IOC president Jacques Rogge expressed sadness at Parry's death and sent condolences to his family.

"He was my faithful barometer of bad news," IOC press commission chairman Kevan Gosper said. "He was a great news man. He grew in my eyes as one of the most professional journalists in my experience. He understood the absolute need for integrity in reporting. He was admired by his journalist colleagues and a valued member of the IOC press commission. It's a great personal loss and a great loss to his profession."

Simon Haydon, The Associated Press' international sports editor, said: "Steve was a clear-headed and firm editor who did not suffer fools gladly. Many a junior writer felt the rough edge of his tongue if an introduction failed to tell the story clearly. Officialdom often felt the full force of his blunt speaking if it stood in the way of his reporters.

"On the other hand, Steve could also show endless patience to help a reporter get the story written in the right way," said Haydon, who worked under Parry at Reuters in the 1990s.

Outside the news agency, Parry was an accomplished amateur actor and made the occasional fleeting television appearance.

After retiring from Reuters following the 2000 Sydney Games, Parry became a consultant for the IOC. He later became a media adviser for London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and then a press operations consultant for the London Games organizers.

Parry was advising both the IOC and London organizers until his sudden death. He was recently advised by his doctor that his health was not up to traveling to Beijing.

"We at Reuters are devastated by the news. Steve was one of the finest journalists Reuters ever had and one of the greatest men I ever knew," said Reuters current sports editor Paul Radford, Parry's former deputy and a close friend. "He was one of the most revered and respected personalities in the world of sports journalism and a monumental figure in the Olympic movement."

AP sports editor Terry Taylor said: "Steve was a formidable competitor and a terrific, effective advocate for all journalists who have covered Olympics. He was the voice of reason - and outrage on many occasions. We will miss him."

Parry is survived by his wife, Di, and their daughter, and two sons from an earlier marriage.